Florida Court Overturns Therapy Ban for Same Sex-Attracted Minors

And other dispatches from the front lines of the Sexual Revolution

By The Ruth Institute Published on February 15, 2023

A federal appeals court recently overturned a Tampa, Florida, ban on what gay activists call “conversation therapy” for minors. “This is more accurately called talk therapy, which does no harm and can do a lot of good,” said Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. “Lifting the ban will allow minors with unwanted same-sex attraction to get the help they need.”

The appeals court held that Tampa’s ban violated the First Amendment free speech rights of therapists providing this type of counseling. Morse observed: “Although 20 states ban talk therapy, the voice of reason is beginning to be heard.”

“Talk therapy only involves conversations between the therapist and client. But the same activists who oppose it are fine with so-called gender-transitioning for minors, which often involves radical surgery.”

Activists have touted the discredited claims of Sam Brinton, a recently-fired Department of Energy official, who says he was tortured in “conversion therapy.”

The Ruth Institute interviewed noted forensic psychologist Susan Constantine, who conducted a thorough analysis of Brinton’s claims and concluded that he was “highly deceptive.”

“In a frantic effort to ban speech, activists maintain that those who participate in talk therapy are more likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts and actions, psychological distress, self-harm and substance abuse,” Morse said, “but that’s a red herring.”

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“Fr. Paul Sullins, the Ruth Institute’s Senior Research Fellow, has analyzed the data from multiple studies and found no greater risk of these harms by those who undergo talk therapy than those who do not.”

“Rather than appeal to reason or engage in a meaningful dialogue, increasingly, advocates for the sexual revolution opt for suppressing speech. It’s so much easier than actually having to think,” Morse said.

In its lawsuit to have the Tampa ban overturned, Liberty Counsel, representing two licensed therapists in the city, argued that the ban “violated the sacred trust between client and counselor, and runs roughshod over the fundamental right of client determination and the counselor’s cherished First Amendment liberties.”

The appellate court agreed, applying its reasoning in Otto v. the City of Boca Raton, Florida, where it overturned similar bans in Boca Raton and Palm Beach.

“We will continue to advocate for the right of minors with unwanted same-sex attraction to seek the therapy they choose,” Morse said.

Dr. Morse interviewed Fr. Sullins about his important research showing that talk therapy can be helpful. In 2019, Dr. Morse also interviewed Robert Vazzo, the plaintiff in both the Tampa Bay case and the earlier Boca Raton case.

A Whole Life Approach to Ending Abortion

The latest “Dr. J Show” guest is Molly Smith, President of Cleveland Right to Life, and a founding member of Personhood and the Right to Life Action Coalition. She talks with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse about the major pro-life conference happening in Cleveland next month, as well as her history in the pro-life movement.

The Personhood movement covers conception through natural death and everything in between, including strengthening marriage. It’s all connected, Smith points out. “You’re not going to stop abortion until you re-support the family… The vast number of people who have abortions are not married… We need a unified approach to the wholistic pro-life movement, which includes the family.”

The Right to Life Action Coalition is a group of pro-life organizations that was founded from the Bringing America Back to Life conference, which regularly hits max capacity of 1,500 attendees.

A lot of people know life is sacred and begins at conception but have a hard time explaining why without getting flustered, especially against a fired-up articulate opponent, Smith says. The educational arm of the Right to Life Action Coalition helps with this, including encouraging pastors to speak up from the pulpit.

The Right to Life Action Coalition also gets involved in politics, holding townhall meetings across Ohio to help pass pro-life legislation. You can learn more about how to do this in your state by coming to the Bringing America Back to Life conference next month in Cleveland, Ohio.

Learn more about Molly Smith’s work by watching the full interview on the Ruth Institute Locals page, on Rumble, or YouTube.

Valentine’s Month Book Sale

Maybe you already have a happy marriage, but you can always be happier! Or, if you know someone getting married soon, you can slip a copy of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage into their gift bag.

You can also get the book personalized and autographed by Dr. Morse with our Wedding Edition!

Still looking for The One? We can help!

Check out 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, which includes advice on:

  • Getting yourself “marriage ready.”
  • Where to look for him or her.
  • Questions you need to ask yourselves when dating.
  • Considerations on living together: why or why not do it?
  • When the time comes: how to treat the wedding vs. the marriage.

Get these two Ruth Institute best sellers for 20% off with code VALENTINE23 at the Ruth Store.


The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization, leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love. The Ruth Institute’s Founder and President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village. Subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube channel to get all our latest news.

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